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Oral Health is a Fundamental Human Right

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India hosts the 2014 Annual World Dental Congress, AWDC (11-14, September, 2014). Dr Ashok Dhoble, Hon. General Secretary, Indian Dental Association, in conversation with Shahid Akhter, ENN discusses the highlights of the second AWDC taking place in India after 10 years

Dr Ashok Dhoble

Dr Ashok Dhoble
Hon. General
Secretary, Indian
Dental Association,

How healthy are the Indian teeth?

The health of Indian teeth leaves much to be desired. Lack of awareness about oral health and hygiene, compounded by poverty, illiteracy and lack of accessibility are the major reasons. Also, lifestyle changes have brought about considerable damage to oral health. Oral health is a highly neglected area since it is not life threatening. People are unaware of the links between oral health and general health and the impact of oral diseases on general health. However, Indian Dental Association has launched several oral health initiatives to improve the scenario in the country. But its efforts have touched only the tip of the iceberg and more work remains to be done in this regard. Indian Dental Associations goal is to bring about optimal oral health in the country.

How do you sum up the oral care scenario of India and the prence of oral diseases?

Quality of life can be affected by oral health and diseases. The most basic human needs, including the ability to eat and drink, swallow, maintain proper nutrition, smile and communicate is dependent on oral health. We realise that not only the quality of life, but it also affects selfesteem and performance at school or work. In a nutshell, oral health is an essential component of health throughout life. In India there is lack of awareness regarding oral care; a little over 2% of the population visits the dentist. People are not even aware of the basics like how to hold a brush properly or how to floss. The basic of brushing twice a day is not adhered to, which results in Dental Carries. Also people are not aware that good oral health contributes to good overall health. Despite increased awareness in certain pockets/ regions in India, still over 50 percent of the population is unaware of prevention techniques or of cures available for various dental problems.

How different is the dental care divide between rural and urban India?

An estimated of 40-50 percent of Indian population has never visited a dentist. Moreover, nearly 70 percent of the population is suffering from dental diseases. The dentist/population ratio in India clearly indicates that there is a major rural and urban divide in the availability of dentists in India; it is 1: 10,000 in urban areas and 1: 250,000 in rural areas. This of late has undergone slight improvement. The distribution of dental professional is skewed in favour of urban areas. Also, the rural population still needs to be educated on the use of toothbrush and toothpaste maintainance of oral hygiene. Most of the time the patients visit the dentist when in pain and never bother to return for follow-up in most cases.

What are the highlights of IDA 2014? What can we look forward to at IDA 2014?

As stated earlier, Indian Dental Association has been designing program and projects to improve the oral health conditions in the country. One of the major oral diseases is Oral Cancer, caused primarily by tobacco. Indian Dental Association has set up an Oral Cancer Foundation and also an Oral Cancer Registry exclusively for registering oral cancer cases. Together with Tobacco Intervention Initiative which aims at tobacco secession, Indian Dental Association is making concerted efforts to reduce the incidence of oral cancer in the country by setting up Spot and Prevent Oral “ Cancer Trauma (S “ P “ O “ T) for the early detection of oral malignancy and potentially malignant lesions. Detecting and treating cancerous tissues as early as possible is critical in helping you beat a potentially deadly disease. Indian Dental Association will also be launching an initiative for correcting Cleft Palette to bring smiles on the faces of people.

Oral Health for All by 2020India is one of the worlds largest growth markets for dental skills and dental products. Every year, some 25,000 newly trained dentists graduate from the countrys nearly 300 institutes offering dental qualifications. AWDC will give a boost to the Indian governments plan of Oral Health for All by 2020 Dr Tin Chun Wong, President, FDI

“India is a favored destination today because of superior dental treatments at reasonable cost, by experienced dentists”

How has technological advancement shaped dental care in India?

There has been a remarkable change in Dental technology, products and materials, offering various treatment options. Consistent with the changing technology, the spectrum of diseases has also been expanding. This has also led to growing demand for quality treatment among the elite, on par with international standards. Consequently, demand for aesthetic dentistry and other innovative, restorative procedures aimed at sustaining natural dentition for life has increased. In a way we can say that this growing demand has resulted in employment generation in related sub-sectors.

Please share your thoughts on the emerging trends in oral care equipment market?

The dental market can be divided into (a) Market for Equipment (b) Materials and (c) Services. India presents a huge market estimated at about $50 million annually. India has nearly 300 dental colleges with an annual turnover of 25 to 30 thousand graduates entering the dental market. Given the existing dental professionals of about 1,80,000 and the annual additions would make a huge demand for dental equipment in the country. India thus provides a huge potential market for dental equipment in the country.

What kinds of specialised dental services are patients opting for these days?

An increase in disposable income supported by growing awareness about healthcare amongst the masses has resulted in patients opting for dental cosmetic procedures for Crown restoration, Dental Veneers, Bridges, Implant dentures, Full Mouth rehabilitation, Cos metic Dentistry, Teeth Whitening, etc.

Please tell us about the emergence of aesthetic treatments in India? The current trend and the way ahead?

The advent of new technology combined with rising patient needs has radically altered the field of dentistry while creating a number of sub branches offering exciting opportunities. An important sub-field that is witnessing a rising demand for trained professionals is cosmetic/ aesthetic dentistry. Cosmetic dentistry focuses on reconstruction and other aesthetic dental procedures. Cosmetic dentistry offers the following services: Dental whitening, reshaping, resizing, Dental veneering, Root canals, dental bonding and Gum lift.

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